"Only take heed to thyself, and keep thy soul diligently, lest thou forget the things which thine eyes have seen, and lest they depart from thy heart all the days of thy life: but teach them thy sons, and thy sons' sons." (Deuteronomy 4:9)
Some of us can remember the words of a melancholy song of the twenties: "You promised that you'd forget me not: but you forgot to remember." Words like these seem to apply increasingly to our observance of Memorial Day, which was originally established in 1868 to honor the Civil War dead, as well as all those others who have given their lives to establish and preserve our "sweet land of liberty." But now it has become just a holiday, a day for leisure and pleasure, rather than for prayer and thankfulness, at least for most Americans.
Like the Israelites of old, who had been urged by Moses not to "forget the things thine eyes have seen, . . . but teach them thy sons, and thy sons' sons," but who did indeed soon forget and go the way of the world, the flesh, and the devil, we Americans have largely forgotten these patriots of the past who sacrificed their lives that we might live in freedom. Especially have we--especially our political, educational, and commercial leaders--largely forgotten the God in whom our forefathers believed, and who answered their prayers for our land.
Because Israel forgot, their land eventually was taken over by strangers and her people dispersed all over the world. America is not immune to judgment either, and we need to remember that, "The wicked shall be turned into hell, and all the nations that forget God" (Psalm 9:17).
In the haunting words of Rudyard Kipling, we surely need to pray: "Lord God of hosts, be with us yet; lest we forget, lest we forget." HMM